NAMPA -- Nampa mayoral hopefuls faced off Wednesday night at the Nampa Civic and Convention Center. The four candidates answered questions focused around housing, urban renewal and the economy.
The city's mayoral election is set for November 5, 2013.
Since 2002, Tom Dale has served as the mayor of Nampa. Wednesday, some familiar faces shared the stage with Dale at a mayoral debate including: second-time mayoral candidate Melissa Sue Robinson, Nampa City Councilman and former Nampa School Board member Bob Henry and former Canyon County Sheriff candidate Robert Muse.
Dale, the incumbent, touted his accomplishments in his years as mayor.
We have successfully lowered crime rates making Nampa a safer place to live, said Dale.
Dale all spoke in support of changes in the city due to the Urban Renewal District. Robinson agreed with Dale on the positive impacts of an Urban Renewal District.
When people buy houses, the first thing they look at, they drive around the town to see is this a town I want to live in, 'said Melissa Sue Robinson. If they see blight all over the place....they're going to pick Meridian, they're going to pick Boise, they're not going to pick Nampa.
Robinson seemed to be the only candidate agreeing with Dale's stance on urban renewal districts.
The support for the repeal of urban renewal and these projects are centered on a common theme: let the free market and businesses decide where they want to do business, not the government, said Robert Muse.
Henry spoke out strongly against Nampa's Urban Renewal District.
[In] 2004, there was an advisory board on the old urban renewal district. The community said get rid of it. We did, got rid of the urban renewal district, said Henry. Fast forward two years and the city decides to form another urban renewal district. People are mad about that. People in Nampa want a say on how their tax dollars are spent when were going to go in debt.
When panelists asked where the candidates would make cuts, Dale and Henry disagreed again.
Henry said there ought to be a very close look at the money spent on the Police and Fire Departments.
Public safety takes up 80 percent of [the general fund budget]. So I'm not going to sit here and say we need to cut public safety, but we do need to look at public safety, said Henry.
Dale strongly disagreed.
The thought of cutting further in public safety should frighten all of us because it would mean cutting essential services that affect us, said Dale.
Once again, the election is on November 5, 2013.